How to Create Silicone Dolls
Silicone dolls are a preferred type of doll for those looking to make realistic-looking baby dolls like Reborns, as well as other types of art dolls and toys. The type of silicone used in dollmaking makes a firm, durable rubber that takes paint well. Dolls can be made entirely of connected silicone, but often silicone body parts like the head, legs and arms are attached to a cloth doll body. This project describes the method for making a simple doll with a cloth body and silicone head.
Create the Silicone Doll Head Mold
Sculpt the head you would like your doll to have out of plasticine clay, or another soft water-based clay. Make sure you include a neck with a base that is about 1/4 inch thicker than the rest of the neck, so that it will hold the neck inside the cloth body.
Spray the doll head with a clear sealer like Krylon Crystal Clear and let it dry completely. Add a thin wall of modeling clay in the middle of the head, from the base of the neck on one side to the other side, dividing the head in half.
Create a plaster mixture by adding water to gypsum powder. Stir it well until the mixture is soupy and free of air bubbles.
Paint a layer of plaster onto one side of the doll head sculpture. Let it dry completely. Paint a second layer and add strips of burlap.
Add continuing layers of plaster and burlap until you have a strong, thick mold. The larger your silicon doll head, the thicker the mold will need to be.
Let the mold cure completely for 6 hours, then repeat Step 3 through Step 5 on the opposite side of the head sculpture. Let the mold cure for 6 hours again. Pull the mold halves apart and clean out the majority of the clay.
Create the Core Mold
Add clay to the inside walls of the mold until you have the thickness in clay that you would like your doll head to have when it is finished. Coat any exposed plaster with mold release.
Strap the mold halves back together with rope, then turn the mold over so that the neck opening is facing upward. Secure the mold in this position.
Mix together another batch of plaster and pour it directly into the mold, filling the cavity. Let the plaster cure completely.
Unstrap the mold and remove the plaster "core mold" piece. Clean all mold pieces until there is no clay.
Spray the inside of both mold halves and the core mold piece with mold release. Strap the mold halves together and insert the core mold, then turn the mold over.
Cast the Silicon Doll Head
Drill or carve a pouring hole into the mold at either the top or the side, in a place where you did not do much detail sculpting.
Put on a pair of latex gloves and mix together a batch of silicone RTV casting rubber. Pour the rubber mixture into the mold through the pouring hole until the mold is completely filled.
Let the rubber cure for 12 hours. Unstrap the mold and carefully pry the halves apart. Remove the core mold.
Paint, detail and decorate the head as desired, and coat your work with a sealer.
Put the base of the neck into the cloth body through the neck opening. Adjust the neck on the cloth body to fit.